When size trumps speed; the WD Black 4TB HDD

Subject: Storage | February 17, 2014 - 03:35 PM |
Tagged: western digital, Black, 4TB, hdd

There are still many times when having a huge amount of storage at a low price is more important than having the speed of an SSD and the Western Digitial Black family of drives is perfect for those scenarios.  This 7200RPM HDD has five 800GB platters and a 64MB cache in the 4TB model TechARP reviewed though you can get smaller models if you so desire.  While the drive will not compete against and SSD you can see in the review that this drive tops the other platter based models performance by a noticeable margin.  If you need a large amount of space but can't pay around $1.00/GB then don't forget that HDDs are also still evolving.

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"The new-generation Western Digital Black family differs from the previous generation by its use of Advanced Format Technology, which allows for greater capacity and throughput. The new Western Digital Black family now consists of five models, which differ only in their storage capacities."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Source: TechARP

Toshiba Goes up to 5TB with Enterprise 3.5-inch HDDs

Subject: General Tech, Storage | February 16, 2014 - 03:37 AM |
Tagged: toshiba, hdd, 5TB

We may see an internal hard drive with up to 5TB of storage from Toshiba. This is an enterprise SKU but, either way, it is a step beyond the tyranny of 3TB models dotted with 4TB options at a higher price per gigabyte. For example, Newegg.com lists a 3TB Caviar Green at $114 with the 4TB version going for $164.

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You might just be, Toshiba. You might just be.

The push to 3TB was fairly difficult, due mostly to software limitations in addressing more than about 2.2TB per drive. 3TB was uncommon for internal storage, although external USB drives avoided the issue. And then came the flood. Back in 2011, disastrous flooding exploded prices of hard drives. The world was cut to a fraction of its production. With standard 2TB drives over doubling in price, the industry took forever to return. Ryan, at the time (October 2011), noted that the days of 2TB for $89 would be gone for a while; that is the exact price which Newegg lists, today. Even worse, we basically did not see 4TB until almost 2013.

It is a good step, though. I hope this reaches other companies and the consumer space in reasonable time. While I am dreaming, just maybe it could push down prices on existing models? I am looking at you, 4TB disks.

Toshiba's MG04 series drives will be available in both SAS and SATA models with sizes up to 5TB. Samples will begin to ship this month.

Source: Toshiba

Corsair Tests Battlefield 4 with Hard Drives and SSDs

Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2014 - 04:21 PM |
Tagged: ssd, hdd, corsair

The Corsair Blog has been publishing several really interesting articles, lately. In January, they wrote an editorial which quantifies the benefits of modestly overclocking CPU, GPU, RAM, and all of the above. Their benchmarks showed which tests favored what type of component.

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This time, they look at the benefits of SSDs. Their Neutron Series GTX 240GB SSD was compared against a 3TB WD Black HDD (which is decent drive). To get into the campaign, they measured an SSD requiring a little over two minutes while the HDD took a little over two-and-a-half minutes. Multiplayer was much more significant: an SSD made it in game in 42 seconds while the hard drive took 69 second. That is a whole 40% faster.

Most importantly, getting into the game a whole 27 seconds earlier gives you first pick at vehicles. The game keeps them briefly locked to allow users to connect but, as is usual for Battlefield games, there is still an advantage for people with fast hard drives. Battlefield 2 was the unspoken benefit of purchasing a Western Digital 10,000 RPM Raptor drive, way back in 2006. You joined in as soon as you loaded which could mean nearly half of a minute to get your vehicle and go.

Shhh. Don't tell anyone.

Source: Corsair
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Introduction:

If you're into the laptop storage upgrade scene, you hear the same sort of arguments all the time. "Do I go with a HDD for a large capacity and low cost/GB, but suffer performance"? "I want an SSD, but can't afford the capacity I need"! The ideal for this scenario is to combine both - go with a small capacity SSD for your operating system and apps, while going with a larger HDD for bulk storage at a lower cost/GB. The catch here is that most mobile platforms only come with a single 2.5" 9.5mm storage bay, and you just can't physically fit a full SSD and a full HDD into that space, can you? Well today Western Digital has answered that challenge with the Black2 Dual Drive:

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Yup, we're not kidding. This is a 120GB SSD *and* a 1TB HDD in a single package. Not a hybrid. Two drives, and it's nothing short of a work of art.

Continue reading our review of the Western Digital Black2 Dual Drive!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Sony

Does downloading make a difference?

This is PART 2 of our testing on the PlayStation 4 storage systems, with the stock hard drive, an SSHD hybrid and an SSD.  Previously, we compared performance based on Blu-ray based installations though today we add downloaded titles from PSN to the mix.  Be sure you read PART 1, PlayStation 4 (PS4) HDD, SSHD and SSD Performance Testing.

I posted a story earlier this week that looked at the performance of the new PS4 when used with three different 2.5-in storage options: the stock 500GB hard drive, a 1TB hybrid SSHD and a 240GB SSD.  The results were fairly interesting (and got a good bit of attention) but some readers wanted more data.  In particular, many asked how things might change if you went the full digital route and purchased games straight from the Sony's PlayStation Network.  I also will compare boot times for each of the tested storage devices.

You should definitely check out the previous article if you missed it. It not only goes through the performance comparison but also details how to change the hard drive on the PS4 from the physical procedure to the software steps necessary. The article also details the options we selected for our benchmarking.

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Today I purchased a copy of Assassin's Creed IV from the PSN store (you're welcome Ubisoft) and got to testing.  The process was the same: start the game then load the first save spot.  Again, each test was run three times and the averages were reported. The PS4 was restarted between each run.

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The top section of results is the same that was presented earlier - average load times for AC IV when the game is installed from the Blu-ray.  The second set is new and includes average load times fro AC IV after the installation from the PlayStation Network; no disc was in the drive during testing.

Continue reading our story on the performance testing of HDD, SSD and SSHD with downloaded and Blu-ray installed games on PS4!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Sony

Load time improvements

This is PART 1 of our testing on the PlayStation 4 storage systems, with the stock hard drive, an SSHD hybrid and an SSD.  In PART 2 we take a look at the changes introduced with PSN downloaded games versus Blu-ray installed games as well as show boot time differences.  Be sure you read PART 2, PlayStation 4 (PS4) Blu-ray and Download Storage Performance, Boot Times.

On Friday Sony released the PlayStation 4 onto the world.  The first new console launch in 7 years, the PS4 has a lot to live up to, but our story today isn't going to attempt to weigh the value of the hardware or software ecosystem.  Instead, after our PS4 teardown video from last week, we got quite a few requests for information on storage performance with the PS4 and what replacement hardware might offer gamers.

Hard Drive Replacement Process

Changing the hard drive in your PlayStation 4 is quite simple, a continuation of a policy Sony's policy with the PS3.

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Installation starts with the one semi-transparent panel on the top of the unit, to the left of the light bar.  Obviously make sure your PS4 is completely turned off and unplugged.

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Simply slide it to the outside of the chassis and wiggle it up to release.  There are no screws or anything to deal with yet.

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Once inside you'll find a screw with the PS4 shapes logos on them; that is screw you need to remove to pull out the hard drive cage. 

Continue reading our analysis of PS4 HDD, SSHD and SSD Performance!!

Hard drives die too

Subject: General Tech | November 13, 2013 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: mtbf, hdd

One thing you can do when you have 25,000 consumer level HDDs running is to amass accurate data on the failure rates of drives.  Backblaze has done exactly that and published their findings which match fairly closely to the predicted MTBF pattern of a spike in the beginning of the life cycle as flawed drives fail, a long period of reliability followed by another rise in failures as drives age beyond their expected lifespan.  They have told the Register that they intend to follow up with tests on enterprise grade disks to see if the premium you pay is a good investment.

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"Cloud backup outfit Backblaze has cobbled together all the data it's gathered from the 25,000 or so disk drives it keeps spinning and drawn some conclusions about just how long you can expect disks to survive in an array."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Seagate's supersized NASty specialized spinning disks

Subject: Storage | October 23, 2013 - 04:23 PM |
Tagged: NAS, Seagate, 4TB, hdd

Seagate's aptly named NAS HDD looks very much like their 4TB Desktop model but internally it has enhanced vibration reduction as well as parts that are more resistant to vibration which should create a quieter and longer lasting drive.  It also shares 5900 RPM and a 64MB cache but Seagate claims slightly higher seek times, 8.5ms read and 9.5ms write and time-limited error recovery which makes these drives far less dangerous to use in a RAID than the desktop model in scenarios such as Al has mentioned numerous times.  The Tech Report's testing put it against Seagate's Desktop version as well as the WD Red that is also optimized for use in NAS devices, read on to see which gets recommended.

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"Seagate's NAS HDD 4TB is optimized for network-attached storage and desktop RAID implementations. It promises better reliability than typical desktop drives, too. We take a closer look to see how the NAS HDD compares to its WD Red counterpart."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

Introduction

Introduction:

Last July, I went on a bit of a mini-rant about how using a bunch of drives not meant to be in a RAID could potentially lead to loss of the entire array from only a few bad sectors spread across several disks. Western Digital solved this problem by their introduction of the WD Red series. That series capped out at 3TB, and users were pushing for larger storage capacities for their NAS devices. In addition to the need for larger disks came the need for *smaller* disks as well, as there are some manufacturers that wish to create NAS / HTPC type devices that house multiple 2.5" HDD's. One such device is the Drobo Mini - a 4x2.5" device which has not really had a 'proper' NAS storage element available - until now:

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Today Western Digital has announced a twofold expansion to their Red Series. First is a 4TB capacity in their 3.5" series, and second is a 2.5" iteration of the Red, available in both 750GB and 1TB capacities.

As a recap of what can potentially happen if you have a large RAID with 'normal' consumer grade HDD's (and by consumer grade I mean those without any form of Time Limited Error Recovery, or TLER for short):

  • Array starts off operating as normal, but drive 3 has a bad sector that cropped up a few months back. This has gone unnoticed because the bad sector was part of a rarely accessed file.
  • During operation, drive 1 encounters a new bad sector.
  • Since drive 1 is a consumer drive it goes into a retry loop, repeatedly attempting to read and correct the bad sector.
  • The RAID controller exceeds its timeout threshold waiting on drive 1 and marks it offline.
  • Array is now in degraded status with drive 1 marked as failed.
  • User replaces drive 1. RAID controller initiates rebuild using parity data from the other drives.
  • During rebuild, RAID controller encounters the bad sector on drive 3.
  • Since drive 3 is a consumer drive it goes into a retry loop, repeatedly attempting to read and correct the bad sector.
  • The RAID controller exceeds its timeout threshold waiting on drive 3 and marks it offline.
  • Rebuild fails.
  • Blamo, your data is now (mostly) inaccessible.

I went into much further detail on this back in the intro to the WD 3TB Red piece, but the short of it is that you absolutely should use a HDD intended for RAID when building one, and Western Digital is removing that last excuse for not doing so by introducing a flagship 4TB capacity to the Red Series.

Continue reading our review of the new WD 3.5" and 2.5" Hard Drives!!

WD Improves Red, expands line to include 4TB and 2.5" form factor

Subject: Storage | September 3, 2013 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, red, NAS, hdd

Today Western Digital launched both a 4TB 3.5" Red, as well as a new 2.5" form factor available in both 750GB and 1TB:

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The full press blast from WD appears after the break. Once you're done perusing, be sure to check out our Full Review of these two new models!